Former YouTube star Ruby Franke, known for her family vlogging channel 8 Passengers, has been charged with six felony counts of child abuse. According to court documents, the charges were filed by a Washington County attorney in Utah. Franke’s business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, also faces the same charges.
The arrests came after Franke’s 12-year-old son escaped through a window and sought help from a neighbor, who noticed duct tape around the child’s ankles and wrists. The neighbor immediately contacted the police. Upon investigation, the responding officer found the child severely malnourished with deep lacerations from being tied up with a rope.
Further search of Hildebrandt’s home revealed Franke’s 10-year-old daughter in a similar condition. Both children were taken to the hospital for malnourishment. As a result, the four Franke children still living at home were placed under the care of Utah’s Child and Family Services. Franke’s two other children are adults.
Franke’s lawyer has not yet commented, and court documents do not list legal representation for Hildebrandt. According to records from the Washington County Sheriff’s office, both Franke and Hildebrandt remain in custody as of Wednesday. They are scheduled to appear in court before the same judge on Friday.
Franke gained national fame through her YouTube channel, which documented her life as a mother of six children and wife to her husband, Kevin. The channel, 8 Passengers, was taken down earlier this year following criticism of Franke’s strict parenting tactics, including threats to withhold meals.
In recent weeks, Franke had been collaborating with Hildebrandt on ConneXions, a mental health counseling service that also faced criticism for its parenting advice, which included shame-based learning and shunning those who don’t share the same values.